After putting up a season-high 511 total net yards in a 37-31 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 5, the New Orleans Saints and the NFL's secondranked offense will find out quickly if they can continue their efficiency when they face the NFL's top-ranked defensive unit Sunday at Ford Field. The Detroit Lions are also coming off a convincing win, a 17-3 victory at the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
After a week six bye, the Saints will look to keep the momentum of their week five win, when they recorded their highest offensive and point totals of the season. New Orleans rebounded from a 31-20 fourth quarter deficit, capped by an 18-yard TD run by RB Khiry Robinson in overtime to improve to 2-3. OLB Junior Galette sacked Tampa Bay QB Mike Glennon for a safety in the fourth quarter and the Saints forced a punt on the Buccaneers' final possession to assist, the 11 point fourth quarter deficit, tied for the biggest fourth quarter comeback in club history.
The 511 yard effort was the 16th performance of 500 or more yards since Sean Payton became head coach in 2006 and the Saints offered a balanced attack with Drew Brees passing for 371 yards, Robinson rushing for a career-high 89 yards and RB Pierre Thomas rushing for 35 yards and a TD and adding eight receptions for 77 yards and a TD.
Despite losing Jimmy Graham in the first half with a shoulder injury, Brees spread out his throws to Thomas, WR Brandin Cooks and TE Benjamin Watson. Cooks had a career-high nine grabs and Watson stepped up in Graham's absence with five catches, his most as a Saint.
Thomas recorded two milestones as he moved into a tie for third place on the club's all-time list for rushing touchdowns (28) with Chuck Muncie. He also moved into sole possession of seventh place on the club's all-time list for total touchdowns (40). The versatile runner has once again shown his versatility with 22 receptions in 2014.
No phase of the New Orleans offense may get tested more against the Lions than the offensive line, which has given up only five sacks, the third-lowest total in the NFL. Now they face one of the league's best defensive fronts, part of a unit that has recorded a league best 20 sacks, including victimizing the Vikings for eight takedowns.
Defensively, New Orleans will be looking to continue the progress they recorded against Tampa Bay, where they surrendered only 314 total net yards, including 66 on the ground. While sacks and takeaways have been an aspect missing, the safety by Galette and an interception by CB Patrick Robinson were steps in the right direction.
New Orleans will also look to establish an edge on special teams. K Shayne Graham has booted seven-of-eight field goal attempts, while the punt coverage units have allowed an average of only 3.6 yards per return, ranked third in the NFL.
This Week In The NFC South: The Atlanta Falcons travel to Baltimore, the Carolina Panthers travel to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay has a bye.